Happy Birthday to Moo!

September 14, 2006

We’ve got our finest COW bell on this week, the one we only bring out for special occasions. The Town has been celebrating its 50th year as an incorporated town. COW is celebrating its first year as a community voice.

Woodside’s history as described on the Town web site states that Woodside was once home to the Ohlone/Costanoan people. In 1769, a group of explorers led by Gaspar de Portolá searching for San Francisco Bay, camped near Woodside. Woodside became the home of some of the earliest English-speaking settlers. By 1855, there were at least eight sawmills and one shingle mill in Woodside. Whiskey Hill got its name from the saloons located there. The Town became home to orchards and vineyards. Eventually, it also became home to cattle ranches and country estates. And Woodside became a COW town in the late 1800s.

In the 1950’s, over 500 new homes were built. According to the Town, based on fear that “unrestricted growth would result in the transformation of Woodside from a rural residential community into a less attractive, more urbanized one,” the residents wanted local control over public activites. By a close vote of 646 to 574 on October 20, 1956, citizens of Woodside voted to incorporate. Now there were COWs to go along with the cows in town. The actual date of incorporation was November 16, 1956.

In 2005, citizens of Woodside who wanted a stronger voice about how that local control was exercised also incorporated and created this bully pulpit. We were moo-ved to became Citizens of Woodside or COW. Since then many of our neighbors have joined us, realizing that the voices of the whole herd together are better than one lone moo.. Our Mission is: to foster Communications among concerned citizens; to promote citizen Oversight of town activities; and to Work together for the betterment of our community. We believe in democracy and want a government which treats its citizens with fairness, impartiality, transparency and respect.

In our one short year, we have provided a voice for all COWs.

Here are some of this year’s stories:

  • In our first month of operation, we wrote two stories about the consultant reports the Town had commissioned. The Council has implemented some but not all of the recommendations. (You can read these stories here and here.)
  • In November, we wrote about an extraordinary meeting we witnessed, in which the frustrations that so many COWs have had finally spilled over and they let the town (and especially Susan George) know how they felt. It was quite a sight and long overdue.
  • In March, we wrote about a judge’s ruling against the town and Steve Jobs concerning the EIR for tearing down the Jackling House. It was dismaying that the Judge found the Council acted arbitrarily and capriciously and had abused their discretion.
  • That same month, we started doing Belle-COW alerts, letting people know of important meetings coming up, so that every COW could be herd in the town government process.
  • In late May, we released the results of our online survey, which found that COWs have serious dissatisfaction about the Town planning process and a very real fear of retaliation.
  • We shed light on the bicycle event controversy. Our theme was mirrored in the Mercury News.
If you have any ideas for stories, do some COW Tipping at our tips page. We’ve already got some good suggestions we’re working on.
See you out on the pasture…

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